Is There A New Interest By Major League Sports In Canada?

When the COVID spread stops, Canada may be attractive.  

There were reports that Arizona Diamondbacks ownership checked out Vancouver, British Columbia’s stadium in case it needed a backup because of problems with the Phoenix home base. Major League Baseball does want to re-establish a presence in Montreal, Quebec. The National Football League is eyeing Toronto as a possible home for someone in the future although there is not much more to that until Toronto has an NFL state of the art stadium. Canada does have one Major League baseball team in Toronto, one National Basketball Association franchise, also in Toronto, and seven National Hockey League squads in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. But there were more teams in Canada in the 1990s in the four leagues. Montreal lost its baseball team after the 2004 season. The NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies business moved to Memphis in 2001. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996, but Winnipeg regained an NHL team in 2011 after local businessmen bought the Atlanta Thrashers franchise and moved the business to the Manitoba capital. Major League Soccer started in the 1990s and has teams in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Is the sudden interest by MLB and the NFL in open Canadian cities real? Other than MLB thinking about setting up a part time shop in Montreal, it seems not to be the case. The Canadian dollar is a problem because all the major United States-based leagues operate with American greenbacks. The Canadian loonie continues to hang around 75 cents US. The National Hockey League has passed over Quebec City twice for an expansion franchise. Quebec City may have hockey fans but lacks sufficient corporate funding. Toronto has the money to support an NFL team. Vancouver has the population and may have money but no one has emerged looking for a team.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Kay delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)